Masterplan must be ‘Banbridge based’

Newry Street Banbridge.
Newry Street Banbridge.

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has welcomed the forthcoming revamp of Banbridge Town Centre, after the council announced it is preparing a masterplan for future development.

Mrs Dobson said she welcomed the fact that the masterplan is progressing and encouraged local people to actively engage in the process.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said it is committed to delivering services that are ‘efficient, economical and of an exemplary standard’ and to help it achieve this it is currently preparing a masterplan for the future development of Banbridge Town Centre.

The key aspect of the masterplan is to meet the needs of the people living, working and visiting the area. With this in mind, the council have employed leading consultancy firm Aecom to deliver the masterplan and undertake a number of public consultation exercises to gauge public opinion on what matters most to those the plan aims to benefit.

Over the coming weeks and months Aecom will be carrying out surveys in the town centre and undertaking a series of telephone questionnaires to gather information on the vibrancy of the town and finding out what is most important to those the council serves.

Commenting Jo-Anne Dobson said: “I welcome the fact that the Banbridge ‘masterplan’ is progressing and encourage local people and business owners to actively engage in the process. It is vitally important to prepare the town to meet the economic opportunities and challenges of the future and a regeneration plan is key to that.

“Banbridge has always been a vibrant town, which through difficult times has maintained an effective mix of local shops, commercial businesses and hospitality and leisure facilities. As we look to the future development of our town the voices of Banbridge people must be heard loud and clear and I urge local people to engage with this process.

“The last number of years have contained many challenges for local business owners – not least from the downturn in the economy, business rate hikes and town centre parking concerns. That is why planning for the future is important – and local solutions to local issues are vital.

“I urge Council to ensure that the Banbridge masterplan is Banbridge-based. It is critical that we maintain and increase employment opportunities in the town while building on the foundations laid by those who have gone before us.

“Banbridge is a fantastic town to both live and work in and I want to see us prepare together for it’s future prosperity.”

For further information on the masterplan or the survey process please contact Mechelle Brown Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Tel: 028 4062 0250 or Una Somerville from Aecom, Tel: 02890 705111.